US – The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), believe that the war against COVID-19 has changed because of the highly contagious delta variant.
CDC proposed the need for a clearer message regarding COVID-19 information, mandatory vaccines for health workers and a return to universal masking.
The organization documented the detriment of the contagious delta variant which is dominant across the globe and is as contagious as chickenpox and far more contagious than the common cold or flu.
According to the CDC, the Delta variant has mutations on the spike protein that make it easier for it to infect human cells.
That means people may be more contagious if they contract the virus and more easily spread it to others. It is now the dominant strain in the U.S.
According to researchers, the Delta variant is about 50% more contagious than the Alpha variant, which was first identified in the U.K.
Alpha, also known as B.1.1.7, was already 50% more contagious than the original coronavirus first identified in China in 2019.
Public health experts estimate that the average person who gets infected with Delta spreads it to three or four other people, as compared with one or two other people through the original coronavirus strain, according to Yale Medicine.
The Delta variant may also be able to escape protection from vaccines and some COVID-19 treatments, though studies are still ongoing.
What is the Delta Plus variant?
The Delta Plus variant, also known as B.1.617.2.1 or AY.1, is considered a “subvariant” of the Delta version, according to CBS News. It has a mutation that allows the virus to better attack lung cells and potentially escape vaccines.
First identified in India, Delta Plus has now been found in the U.S., U.K., and nearly a dozen other countries. India has labeled it a variant of concern, but the CDC and WHO haven’t.
The symptoms are similar to those seen with the original coronavirus strain and other variants, including a persistent cough, headache, fever, and sore throat.
At the same time, COVID-19 patients in the U.K. have reported that some symptoms are slightly different for Delta, according to data from the ZOE COVID Symptom Study.
Cough and loss of smell seem to be less common. Headache, sore throat, runny nose, and fever seem to be more common.
People who haven’t been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are most at risk, Yale Medicine reported. In the U.S., communities with low vaccination rates have seen a jump in cases, particularly in Midwest and southern states such as Missouri and Arkansas. Outbreaks have also been found in Mountain states, such as Wyoming.
Kids and younger adults who haven’t been vaccinated may be susceptible as well. In the U.K., children and unvaccinated adults under age 50 were 2.5 times more likely to become infected with Delta, according to a recent study published by Imperial College London.
Scientists are looking at how the Delta variant can cause breakthrough cases, or infections among people who are fully vaccinated. So far, they seem to be rare.
In a preliminary analysis, two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine appeared to be about 88% effective against disease and 96% effective against hospitalization with the Delta variant, according to Public Health England.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not been authorized for use in the U.S., was about 60% effective against disease and 93% effective against hospitalization.
Johnson & Johnson has also reported efficacy from its one-shot vaccine against the Delta variant, which researchers estimate to be similar to the AstraZeneca results.
However, a study released July 19 on a preprint server (not been peer reviewed) found the Johnson & Johnson vaccine’s protection decreased significantly over time, hinting that people who get the J&J shot may need a booster shot.
Now vaccine makers are testing booster shots to find out if they can better protect against the Delta variant and other variants that emerge in coming months. Pfizer announced that it will seek FDA authorization for a booster dose in August.
The variant is still at large and according to World Health Organization (WHO) Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, believes that hard worn gains are in in jeopardy or being lost.
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